Learning to Program in Houston
In this guide, I am going to show you how to learn the skills you need to become a new developer or software engineer in Houston. From there, it's up to you if you want to use those skills to:
- Look for a entry level or junior level position with a company.
- Begin working on a new product as an entrepreneur.
- Or, take on programming as a lifelong hobby.
Whatever your choice, you can be sure it will include lots of personal development if you want to be successful. You are on the road to becoming a craftsman whose tools are always evolving, meaning you are embarking on a career of continuing self-education. You must learn how to learn, and that's exactly what we'll teach you so you can stay relevant in an ever-changing field.
Learning Programming Fundamentals in Houston
If you are getting started with no experience in programming or web development -- you are in luck. There are several great options to learn the basics.
Codecademy is great for learning programming syntax and fundamentals. It's free, easy to follow, and you can set your own pace. Best of all, you can access your account anywhere. Do a few lessons on your desktop, then switch to tablet to continue on the bus. It's super convenient, and easy to progress. Where it falls short is teaching you exactly why you would ever write a for loop or a while loop. But, we'll get there!
First, get started with their great lesson on HTML & CSS.
After Codecademy, you should have some basic idea of how to solve simple problems in the editor. The next step is to take these solutions and combine them into building an actual application.
- Computer Science
- Chrome DevTools
- Node Package Manager
There are dozens more optional courses including data science and advanced object-oriented programming. Feel free to try your hand at any that look interesting. Almost as important as the course, I'd encourage you to take part in local Free Code Camp meetups and events. You can get help with your coursework, and networking can pay big dividends in the job search later on. Our students often speak highly of Free Code Camp, and many cut their teeth there before joining us in class.
One More Big Step to Get a Job as a Programmer in Houston
While self-learning tools like Free Code Camp can be a great start, many find it difficult to transition directly to a new career from them.
- Students of these programs usually have little-to-no group work experience.
- Graduates may not leave the program with many examples of their work for their portfolios.
- Graduates still have difficulty applying what they learned to create solutions from scratch.
Coding bootcamps combine instruction and lectures with practical exercises and projects. Most also include instruction specific to the job search, including:
- Resume Guidance
- Portfolio Best Practices
- Interview Practice
- Networking Events
- Access to Employer Networks
Unlike in online courses, bootcamp students are often challenged to solve open-ended problems. Instead of being led to the answer, they must immediately use the skills they learn to come up with their own creative solutions.
During the course, students are also challenged to work as a part of a development team. Using source control best practices with Git and modern project management methodologies, students gain valuable real-world experience -- experience they can show on job applications and during interviews.
To get your feet wet:
- Pick a Codecademy beginner track.
- Use the skills learned in steps 1 & 2 to work on personal projects and develop your portfolio.
- Network and join local programming and development groups. For example, we hold occasional workshops for free right here.
Take it a step further:
- Consider a Coding Bootcamp and evaluate your options.
- Practice before any code challenges and put time into the applications.